Daigo Saito’s Doing What With A GT300 Corvette?

There aren’t many pro drifters in the world who have pushed the driving and car building envelope quite like Daigo Saito has.

He’s won almost every championship worth winning, and in the process has created a very distinctive style of car and set up. Daigo is also the complete opposite of most other Japanese drivers who don’t really like moving away from the cars and platforms that they know.

But Daigo is always up for challenge, whether it’s building the craziest JZX100 ever to be seen in D1 Grand Prix competition, to drifting mid-engined Italian exotics. And it’s the latter that brought me out to Fat Five Racing – Daigo’s man cave/race shop – earlier this week.

daigo_d1_corvette_dino_dalle-carbonare_01

Having seen a few images of an overfender-equipped Ferrari 599 built by Fat Five to go sideways, I arranged to visit Daigo at his compound in the Saitama countryside so I could check it out. Unfortunately though, on arrival I was told that the Ferrari had already been shipped off to its owner who commissioned the build in a bit of a hurry. Not to worry though, as there are always interesting cars in Daigo’s personal collection, and I was sure there would be something I’d never seen before.

It turns out I was right…

daigo_d1_corvette_dino_dalle-carbonare_03

Yes, this is a Callaway Corvette Z06-R GT3 race car, and yes, Daigo is going to drift it, in the 2017 D1 Grand Prix series no less. It’s amazing where the quest for excitement is taking him with car choice, because this is next-level stuff.

daigo_d1_corvette_dino_dalle-carbonare_04

This particular Z06-R contested the GT300 class of the 2011 Super GT Championship in Japan, and Daigo picked it up as you see it here, complete with all the battle scars you’d expect a car that’s been raced for a couple of season to have. But despite the light cosmetic wear, it’s an extremely solid base to build upon.

There are telltale signs of its former life everywhere, from the visible ghost marks of old sponsor logos, to technical approval stickers from tracks like Fuji, Sugo and Okayama.

daigo_d1_corvette_dino_dalle-carbonare_02

But what about its potential as a D1GP drift car? Well, in making the switch from circuit to drift spec, the wide body should prove very useful in containing the aggressive wheel and tire fitment that a pro drift alignment will introduce.

daigo_d1_corvette_dino_dalle-carbonare_08

However, the current ride height will definitely have to be addressed.

daigo_d1_corvette_dino_dalle-carbonare_06

The Z06-R will soon been gutted out to drop even more weight, and in usual Daigo fashion only the bare minimum of devices will go back in.

daigo_d1_corvette_dino_dalle-carbonare_10

The roll cage looks like it’s well up to task when it comes to the required safety standards and structural rigidity, but don’t be surprised if Daigo adds to it and modifies it to suit. The Moton race dampers may also need to be ditched in favor of something more drift specific.

The C6 has a transaxle gearbox of course – a sequentially-shifted one in the case of this race car – so it all offers the ability to balance front-to-rear weight rather nicely.

daigo_d1_corvette_dino_dalle-carbonare_07

This is surely one of the wildest drift projects that Daigo has ever embarked on, and it’s right up there with the Liberty Walk-kitted Lamborghini Murciélago that still continues to blow people away.

daigo_d1_corvette_dino_dalle-carbonare_16

One question remains though: what will power this thing?

As it stands, the Corvette’s original race-spec V8 (complete with its Super GT power restrictor) still resides up front, but I really hope Daigo ditches it for a Toyota 2JZ. You guys are with me, right?

Stay tuned for more from my visit to Fat Five Racing, including a fresh shop tour and a detailed look at one of Daigo’s most famous drift builds.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino
dino@speedhunters.com

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141 comments

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1

you know what is next for speedhunters? The red bull racing australia V8 supercar drift car...

2

you know what is next for speedhunters? The red bull racing australia V8 supercar drift car...

3

Yeah Nah Cunt What was his name? bowler? he did it like.. 8 years ago.

4

I still think someone needs to build a Blower motor for drifting. Big ass Weiand blower.

5

A 2JZ wouldn't fit in that car and is not as suitable for drift as an LS engine.

-Alex

6

"I really hope Daigo ditches it for a Toyota 2JZ. You guys are with me, right?"
You're an idiot for that one Dino...

7

Hmm, I feel that swapping the engine would take away from the idea character of the car.  Has he ever competed an event with a different manufactures engine in his chassis?  
    Hes always run a turbo platform im pretty sure, so having a V8 & ditching the turbo would deffinently go along with what you where saying about branching out and expanding his skills

8

MatsNorway Yeah Nah Cunt I literally have no idea what you are talking about.

9

NoOoOo! Keep the V8 please!

10

keep the LS please oh please. I doubt he would ditch a proven powerplant in its natural home

11

JustinHPG diago has a v8 dodge challenger and has used it in the past

12

MatsNorway JTP Runs a blown mustang !

13
awesomefearwave

those who say keep the v8 are wrong. i think daigo should experiment with other engines see what can get it going quickly.

15
Becauseracetruck

Just put in a turbo bmw v8 to hurt everyone's feeling

16

adamindet JustinHPG So yea, hopefully he keeps on the path of not swapping the engine out.

17

Viper V10 anyone??

18
speedhunters_dino

Roman64 Thank you, very kind of you

19
speedhunters_dino

370 Hemi OK I might understand that it might be a tad tall to fit, but not suitable for drift? LOL riiiiiiiight

20
speedhunters_dino

ZachPerkins He's got one outside sitting on top of a container

21
speedhunters_dino

Becauseracetruck That would be cool. I love when cars/engine swaps upset people hehe

22
speedhunters_dino

adamindet Wouldn't he ditch it just because of that?

23

Switch things up. Drop a brapin'n rotary in there :D I would actually like to see what Daigo would do with such a power plant.

24

Becauseracetruck lol

25

Neither kind, nor rude. I just called it like I see it. I call my kid an idiot when she does, or says something idiotic.
That's how to raise a resilient adult who doesn't cry or whine when someone calls them out...

26
BastienBochmann

Davids Kruze Photography I'd actually like that, I think. I have an unhealthy love for V8s, but a rotary in a 'vette... now that would be unique.

27
TarmacTerrorist

Then he needs a K series.....

28
TarmacTerrorist

Electric. It's everywhere else almost, time for drifting to get it too.
Ooooooh or one of those neat Hydrogen Honda engines.... although as to tuning a hydrogen engine I wouldn't.... I can't see...

29

Rotary, for all those v8 swapped rx7s

30

i think it would be cool to see the LS be built into a high revving, high compression build with ITBs.  I'm fine with the LS seeing as that is the motor that it came with so it's not "just another LS swap"

Or the Synergy V8..

31

I might be boring, but I don't see any reason to change engines.  It's a race car, with an engine already very well suited for the car, and there isn't any reason to change it just for the sake of doing something different.  Engine swaps are only interesting when they are an improvement, and something like a 2JZ isn't really an improvement.

32

speedhunters_dino Becauseracetruck how about a 4g63 diamond swap?

33

Roman64 It's a bit mean to pick on your kid for being an idiot when it is clearly hereditary

34
jbfromsiliconvalley

2JZ is an amazing engine but doesn't it weigh more than an LS? Wouldn't that upset the weight balance? The goal def is to own going sideways so it would be crucial to maintain the weight distribution. A nice blower LS would be perfect.

35

JDMism Roman64 Oh damn!

36

Pretty disappointed that we aren't going to see Diago drift the 599. I'm sure it will be impressive regardless of who is driving it, but Saito piloting that thing would have been epic.

37

I'll be the first to say it, I'm an idiot and I've done some idiotic things in my time. If anyone out there can't say the same, they're lying. But you JDMism, you couldn't possibly know that about me from behind your keyboard, now could you? You fucking Nance...

38

Mfabs 
the 599 belongs to customer

39

2jz hell no.  Just take out the intake restrictor and be done.   all the people who want to take out a v8 just to put in something else just want to be fashionable like all the other v8 racists.

40

Daigo have 2x Corvette GT3 in his man cave ... the last 2 photo shows that , and the photo where he show off the 599 progress also show it .

41

2JZ, VOLK CE28, Liberty Walk kit and ducktail, and yeah. A JDM Z06-R.

42

jbfromsiliconvalley huge blower like ones in the Australian UTEs!

43

Dude he should LS swap that thing

44

speedhunters_dino He might be referring to low end torque?

45

I would just street that bad boy. Paint and done. But im not daigo.

46

speedhunters_dino Interesting point but Daigo's history building cars shows otherwise. 

JZX/SC430 (yeah came with a v8 but 2J is Toyota so whateva)/R35/Lambo/Ferrari/

Seems like he just wants to build and drift different types of machines and feel their natural power

47

bluestreaksti speedhunters_dino He may be referring to just making it fit! the Corvette is a tightly packaged sports car. try adding 2 cylinders, let alone turbos and IC and still keep the balance. Theeen the transaxle and torque tube needs to be taken out and diff fabricated from what.. a Supra?!

48

@Deep Dishin It I wouldnt even paint it lol!! I would just get a nose lift kit installed so I don't get stuck on a speed bump trying to outrun the police hehehee!

49

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50

@Deep Dishin It as Kathy implied I didn't even know that some people can earn $8201 in 1 month on the internet . See it here====http://fave.co/2cZolmIᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵ

51

bluestreaksti my neighbour got Hyundai Equus Sedan by working parttime from the internet...See it here====http://fave.co/2cZolmIᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵ

52

rally2727 what Nicholas explained I am shocked that you can make $4580 in one month on the computer . See it here====http://fave.co/2cZolmIᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵ

53

RDS my Aunty Sadie recently got Acura RLX just by some part time working online with a macbook. See it here====http://fave.co/2cZolmIᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵ

54

I cant believe that a stay at home mom can earn $9166 in a few weeks on the internet .

55

@moldy V8 PIGGU GO HOOOOOOME

56

adamindet JustinHPG Daigo has only used that Challenger once and that was earlier this year at Formula Drift Japan. Unfortunately blew the engine and we didn't get to see him tandem with it

57

like Philip said I'm alarmed that anybody can make $6752 in one month on the internet .
see it here=====slate23­­.Comllllllll

58

speedhunters_dino Roman64 gotta agree with him on this Dino... SpeedHunters is really going downhill FAST lately, thankfully Mike, Jordan, Ron and maybe a couple of others are still putting out good articles or this site wouldn`t be worth visiting at all...

59
turbo BEAMS ae86

2Jz c6 = villanous

60
turbo BEAMS ae86

@Fabrik8 Reason: villanosity

61
turbo BEAMS ae86

Mr Brap just OMG

62
TarmacTerrorist

Nance? Was that an attempt at calling him a nonce? Cos like.... that's a pretty harsh insult to use.
Also, screaming and beating on a child is far more like nonce behaviour...
Seriously dude, chill out. This isn't Donald trump.org, it's a site about car culture, I understand you don't like it when say -a Japanese engine is in an American car or visa versa, but that is what people are doing at the moment, this is what's happening in japanese competition drifting. It's not like a V8 can't be put back on at some point - the car can go back to its "stock, Japanese superGT300" spec.
Accept it's not your car, you don't really get a choice in the matter of what he does with his car. But seriously man, this and the last interaction has me worrying wether you are ok, cos the way your working yourself up is dangerous man, all that stress over what is essentially entertainment...
but then, that's how I was raised, to give a shit regardless wether friend or foe so as to speak.

63
TarmacTerrorist

Cut a hole in the bonnet= sorted.

64
TarmacTerrorist

The other must be a parts car lol.

65

Mr Brap Hahahaha *snort* that would be glorious.

66

my stepmother recently got a nice 12 month old Lexus IS 350 C Convertible just by part time work online. read more http://tinyurl.com/dailyjobs04

67

Seems a waste of a GT3 car. Car ment for proper racing. Be it a stock Lamborghini or a Chevrolet and i wouldn't mind but this doesn't feel right.

68

How you know drifting is a joke: you have to replace a MOTON suspension with something else.

69

LauriLeesmaa Agreed. Removing a MOTON suspension for anything else in of itself is automotive sacrilege.

70

TarmacTerrorist Actually, depending on how the 2JZ fits, you might not be able to go back to "stock, Japanese superGT300" spec.

71

Very nice, but two things stood out:


1 - "However, the current ride height will definitely have to be addressed."


For a competition vehicle, the ride height looks spot on to me - as long as he loses those intakes under the splitter. Unless you think it needs another inch or two of ground clearance, of course.






2 - "...I really hope Daigo ditches it for a Toyota 2JZ. You guys are with me, right?"


Wrong. This isn't a Mk. IV or a JZX100.

72

bluestreaksti VR38, huh? Just don't use that thing's glass transaxle...

73

jbfromsiliconvalley It's also longer than the LS, which necessitates hacking up the engine cradle and chassis.

74

@Deep Dishin It Paint? No way. 

I love how the bodywork's all scarred up with old decal impressions, like some fourth-owner New York delivery truck.

75

@Fabrik8 You're right. Besides, an essential aspect of the Vette's character is its naturally-aspirated small-block V8.

76

Wait a minute. "Fat Five Racing?"

So, what's their motto? 

"Life in the Fat Lane!"

77

Diago brought a damn gt300 car, I'm sure he has the money to swap out whole front ends/inside engine panels/engine cradles/re weld firewalls....

78

I know whenever he puts in as a powerplant it'll be good. However I hope he keeps the LS engine.

79

2JZ in C6= FULL RETARD

80

Indeed, really should have started with something else instead of destroying a perfectly good race car, then a again it wouldn't be so outrageous or even discussed here so whatever. Whatever makes Daigo happy, go for it

82

Well I mean that was kinda a stupid comment lol, joking or not.
I just wanna say that an engine swap IS NOT ALWAYS needed, plenty of great engines out there without always jumping to a boring ass LS, 2JZ, or Honda K.

83

Just... Don't comment back man. You end up rubbing some pussy the wrong way no matter what. And please keep trump out of it lol

84

His name means Fat Five in Japanese

85

@DriveCircles just like any motorsport discipline, drifting has its preferred brands. Those motons are probably overkill anyways. Example; if you're building a car for drag racing, you wont see anyone use motons, they'd probably use Strange engineering or QA coilovers. This might sound hard to believe, but just because the motons are a great product, doesnt make them necessary for this application. And who knows, maybe Dino knows Daigo prefers a certain brand of coilovers?

86

@Fabrik8 but he's not road racing it, hes drifting it. Which requires a different set of characteristics from an engine.

87

kento_bento My Uncle Jacob got a fantastic red Volkswagen Eos Convertible just by parttime work from a 

http://www.easy.jobs14.com/

88

My Uncle Cole just got a new white Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe just by part time 




 http://www.easy.jobs14.com/

89

@DriveCircles My Uncle Cole just got a new white Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe just by part time 


http://www.easy.jobs14.com/

90
turbo BEAMS ae86

Therealstig
Another toadlike "student" of close-mindedness

91
jbfromsiliconvalley

Screams Turbo Encabulator swap.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLDgQg6bq7o

92

@DriveCircles LauriLeesmaa I think a tune on the moton would work.

93

I think C6 with 2J is a great idea, this is a race car, a rolling billboard no matter its sitting in your computer screen, a magazine or in front of you, the more buzz it generates the better, regardless of pos or neg. More publicity is good publicity, especially in a non-mainstream sport.

94

Yeah swap a cast iron straight six for an all aluminum V8, that's the ticket.

Let's go backwards.

95

EmmaMacki ""this is a race car,""
No it's not. It WAS a race car. Now it's going to be a drift car. Where you win based on style points, not who's actually faster.

96

Let's go 12 cylinders haha

97

what about ddkaba driftvette?)

98

@Fabrik8 its a race engine prepped for very specific restrictor settings. You can't just pull that restrictor off and pump boost into it. I agree it should keep a LS powerplant

99

LauriLeesmaa that always the problem with racecars that just ran out of homologation. You can't use them competitively in racing anymore, but also not yet in historic series'.

100

TarmacTerrorist order a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Performance_Development HR28TT  from the US, do it Honda, but proper racing style

101
TarmacTerrorist

I was trying to keep it accessible for non H heads but I fully agree, a HPD H series would really piss off most purists hehe

102

There's at least one blown LS in FD Canada too. A Magnuson IIRC

103

I was perplexed by this too. I like lol things a lot but for a race car this sits quite well.

104

My Uncle Luke just got a nearly new white Ford Fusion Hybrid Sedan just by part time work from a macbook air. read more 
http://tinyurl.com/dailyjobs04

105

i understand what you are saying, and respect your thoughts.
Although...
If a person feels their freedom of speech intitles them to act like a dick and utterly ignore any positives, that it allows for them to attack someone -anyone's - hard work.... or to harass and insult...
I don't care what the person being attacked/criticised thinks or feels, I'll jump in there and act as much of a dick.
After all, I have the same freedoms.
I don't like bullies, the only way to deal with a bully is with a bigger one.
I know words (especially mine) don't always communicate feeling, intent and emotion very well, but I promise in my talking to you I'm not attacking in any way. We are all adults, there is no excuse for not having manners and acting civilised.

106

If he swap a 2jz in a corvette , he will be my hero

107

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109

Yes!!! 2jz powered!!

110

marlboro_jdm but this wasn't a GT3 car converted into a drift car

111

bluestreaksti it HAS AN LS Engine...

112

Maybe he has a sponsorship deal elsewhere....

113

@Expert Might want to change your name.

114

GT350 engine anyone?

115

Therealstig but putting an ls in an rx7 isn't full retard h u h

116

My Uncle Mason recently got an awesome year old Cadillac CTS-V Sedan by working parttime from a computer. 
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117

Every time I read an article on this website and think damn this guy is stupid, it turns out to be written by Dino. Seriously, how are you still a contributor to this website? "I hope he replaces the LS motor in a Corvette with a 2JZ" has got to be the dumbest thing you have said to date! Sure I like to troll on here from time to time but not this time. I hope that speedhunters fires your ass for being SO FUCKING DUMB!

118

the 2j sounds around the right lines, a smaller package which can be placed a little further back for weight distribution maybe

119

Does the name offended you? If it does I can change it. BTW it is obviously a troll name.

120

Automotive Obsession Woah

121

WHY THE FUCK DO YOU KEEP DELETING MY COMMENTS DINO???? IS IT BECAUSE YOU HATE WHEN PEOPLE AGREE WITH ME THAT YOU ARE FUCKING DUMB???

122

Zari. recently got Audi S3 by working part time from a home computer. read this 
http://tinyurl.com/online-jobs-for-Europeans       (after open click on Economy, Tech etc...)

123

BastienBochmann Davids Kruze Photography 
A four rotor would be the only correct thing to do!

124

Becauseracetruck you know what would fit pretty well? The big german V8 thing is right, but I think more towards the merc side of things, in a high state of tune they've got a real nice character that's sort of LS, but more toothy-growly, rather than snoring-roaring.
Hmm, while we're at it, Audi did make that one V10....

125

klevenspielberg YESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES

126

Hahaha lmfao! This is so funny! Where did you find this?!?!

127

fuck you dino!

128

klevenspielberg meh, it's not quite transgressive enough, and not inherently special enough to be a sick choice on its own. Going down that route Boss 302 maybe?

129

klevenspielberg never mind my comment below, i see what you're saying

130

As a matter of fact, what good would it do to swap a corvette engine to 2jz? I think the opposite would be nice, as you mentioned dampers, widebody, ride height and then possibly an engine swap? This means that the "special" part of a special car is gone, and then it isn't that special anymore. Might as well take a stock corvette, strip it, haul a 2jz and a sequential for the same result. If looking at if from uniqueness perspective - keeping this car as close as drift allows it to stay to current state would make it as unique as possible.

131

my Aunty Caroline just got an almost new silver Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible by

132

2jz swap?? Have to disagree, completely.

133

No 2jz swap for a Corvette please. Just keep the original V8 and put a 2jz in any other import car please.

134

MantasDosinas that's actually a good point. Though it may be somewhat underpowered. I wonder how much work a restrictor build needs to really liven up. Also depends on how competitive a build it was in the first place, or how hard it was run, it may need to be recycled anyway. It was a racing motor after all.

135

my Aunty Anna got a fantastic metallic Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class CLS63 AMG 


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136

I cannot believe that a single mom able to profit $7775 


in 3 weeks on the computer . 




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137
JBfromSiliconValley

TimAukamp This little website called youtube

138

my Aunty Brooke recently got a nice twelve month old Nissan 370 Z Coupe by working at home online...
see more  

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139

like Lucille replied I am dazzled that some one can make $4355 in a few weeks on the internet .  

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140

Damn this thing is so cool! I actually came across the carbon seat from this car for sale. I have it posted on my facebook page and instagram if anyone wants to see it.
@executiveeleven

141

Ice Age Yeah the 2JZ swap comment is puzzling. This thing is a race car and has perfect weight distribution. The 2JZ will ruin that as it's heavier than that NA LS, taller, and sticks forward more.

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